Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Thursday, said Nigeria is going through strange and difficult times and needs God’s intervention more than ever.
Speaking when he flagged off Batch A of the 2022 Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands of Israel and Jordan, in Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi enjoined the 274 intending Pilgrims, sponsored by his administration, to pray for peace, security, unity and progress in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.
The governor, who was received by the elated beneficiaries on arrival at the venue, urged them to also “pray particularly that we may love one another as this, in my judgment, is the missing link in our society, for love beareth all things (I Corinthians 13:7).”
Gov. Ugwuanyi further enjoined the state government-sponsored Pilgrims to Israel and Jordan to equally pray for peaceful electioneering campaigns, successful general elections and seamless transition in Nigeria, in 2023.
He congratulated the intending Pilgrims on the unique opportunity and thanked the Almighty God for using the instrumentality of his administration to accomplish it.
Gov. Ugwuanyi advised the intending Pilgrims to obey the extant rules to the letter, adding that “the state expects 100 percent return of our Pilgrims and the handlers should ensure that there is no case of abscondment”.
The governor, therefore, wished them journey mercies and spiritually enriching experiences.
“In keeping with our commitment to deepening the practice of Christian Faith in our State, we are sponsoring 274 Pilgrims for the 2022 Easter Christian Pilgrimage, to wit: 24 for Jordan and 250 for Israel, respectively.
“The Christian Pilgrimage is an occasion for Christians (Pilgrims) to step out of their comfort zone to encounter God where He has revealed Himself; to visit places associated with the life, times and teachings of Christ especially his birth, passion, death and resurrection.
“It is an opportunity for quiet introspection and spiritual rebirth. You are therefore expected to return as more dedicated practitioners of the Christian Faith”, he said.
Welcoming Gov. Ugwuanyi earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Barr. Nestor Ezeme, described the governor as “God fearing and the best Pilgrimage Governor in Nigeria”.
Barr. Ezeme thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for his commitment to God and immense contributions to the success of religious programmes in Enugu State, stressing that they are unprecedented in the annals of the state.
He pointed out that the governor’s faithfulness to God is responsible for his enviable feats in all spheres of development despite nation’s numerous challenges saying: “No wonder you are number one in Education; you are number one in health; you are number one in rural infrastructure; you are number one in Judiciary; you are number one in security; you are number one everywhere you are; and you have taken number one in Pilgrimage”.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of Enugu State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Bishop Emmanuel Edeh expressed profound gratitude to Gov. Ugwuanyi for his steadfastness in championing the noble objectives of the board in spite of the nation’s economic, security and public health challenges.
Bishop Edeh who doubles as the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Enugu State chapter, said that the Christian community is highly impressed that Enugu State under the watch of Gov. Ugwuanyi has been outstanding in the South East geo-political zone in particular and Nigeria in general, in respect of sponsorship of Pilgrims to the Holy Lands of Israel and Jordan.
“It is on record that talking about Pilgrimage in the South East, it has been Enugu State all the way”, the CAN Chairman said, recalling that Gov. Ugwuanyi was recently conferred with the ‘Best Pilgrimage Governor in the South East Nigeria’ award by the National Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) for committing resources towards the growth and sustenance of Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria.
The cleric encouraged Gov. Ugwuanyi to hold on tightly to his vision and Christian belief, beseeching God to continue to guide and protect the governor to finish well as “you started well and you are doing well”.
The Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Enugu State, Bishop Dr. Godwin Madu, Director of Special Duties, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Mr. Sunday Udeh, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Religious Matters, Rev. Chinedu Nwoye, Dr. Tony Okam and Barr. Chima Nwanna, were among the dignitaries at the event.\